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Nearly a third of trans and non-binary youth attempted suicide in the past year, eye-opening study confirms

Nick Duffy May 26, 2020
A woman holding a sign which says "protect trans kids"

Sign supporting trans students. (Derek R Henkle/AFP/Getty)

A new study has revealed that nearly a third of trans and non-binary young people have attempted suicide in the past 12 months.

More than 25,000 queer young people between the ages of 13 and 24 were surveyed for the peer-reviewed study by researchers at The Trevor Project, which has been published in the Journal of Adolescent Health.

Of the trans and non-binary youth  young people responding to the survey, 78.2 per cent said that they have experienced discrimination because of their gender identity.

Trans and non-binary youth report depression, physical abuse and thoughts of suicide.

Asked about their experiences over the past 12 months, 29.7 per cent of trans and non-binary youth said they had been physically threatened or harmed.

82.8 per cent reported a depressive mood, 54.2 per cent had seriously considered suicide, and 28.6 per cent had attempted suicide.

Four in five trans and non-binary youth reported a depressive mood - while a quarter have attempted suicide
Four in five trans and non-binary youth reported a depressive mood – while a quarter have attempted suicide

The data suggests that trans and non-binary youth are more than five times as likely than non-LGBT+ youth to attempt suicide – an annual figure recorded separately by the CDC as five per cent.

Even compared to their cisgender LGB+ peers in the Trevor Project survey, young people who identify as trans and non-binary are still more than twice as likely to experience depressive symptoms, seriously consider suicide, and attempt suicide – adjusting for age, family income and ethnicity.

Young people who identify as trans and non-binary are most at risk of depression and suicide

Young people who identify as trans and non-binary are most at risk of depression and suicide. Trans males are the the highest-at risk group, with 35 per cent having attempted suicide in the past 12 months – but trans females and non-binary youth were also significantly more likely than cisgender LGB+ youth to report seriously considering suicide, according to the research.

Transgender young people ‘particularly vulnerable to poor mental health’.

The study corroborates findings from previous research on the issue, which has long indicated that trans youth have a greater risk of suicide.

Amy E Green, director of research at The Trevor Project, said: “Prior to this study, there was a clear lack of research on the differences in mental health and suicidality within different sub-groups of LGBT+ youth.

“These results underscore that transgender and non-binary youth are particularly vulnerable to poor mental health outcomes and suicide risk compared to their cisgender peers within the LGBT+ community. Furthermore, they show how LGBTQ-based discrimination and victimisation contribute to these increased mental health disparities.”

Research scientist Myeshia Price-Feeney, added: “At The Trevor Project, we hear from trans youth in crisis every day and we understand the detrimental impacts discrimination and harassment can have on their mental health and well-being.

“We hope this data will encourage more robust nationwide data collection on LGBT+ youth mental health, and that policymakers and health care providers will use these insights to create policies and safe spaces that protect and affirm trans youth everywhere.”

If you are in the UK and are having suicidal thoughts, suffering from anxiety or depression, or just want to talk, you can contact Samaritans on 116 123 or email [email protected] If you are in the US call the National Suicide Prevention Line on 1-800-273-8255

More: LGBT, non-binary, suicide, The Trevor Project, Trans, Transgender

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